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Mainstream, VOL 62 No 18, May 4, 2024

Letter to Ministry of Environment - Rollback of the Green Credit Rules 2023 - Environment Groups & Concerned Citizens

Saturday 4 May 2024



26th April 2024

100+ environmental and human rights organisations and 400+ individuals issue a letter to the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change demanding the rollback of the Green Credit Rules 2023 and the methodology introduced under the Notification dated 22nd February 2024, which in effect provides incentive for forest diversion activities through green credit earnings, at huge cost to the environment, forest and climate and to the rights of forest dwelling communities.

While the Green Credit Programme (GCP) introduced under the Green Credit Rules, 2023 was perceived by many as an innovative market-based mechanism, there have been serious concerns regarding its unsustainable approach and reliance on market forces for the conservation, restoration, and management of these natural lands. This latest notification issued in February 2024 has now confirmed the legitimate apprehensions of the environmental and forest rights activists, that such a profit-oriented green credit programme only seeks to further incentivise forest diversion and deforestation and trample upon the rights of the forest dwelling communities, instead of putting regulatory curbs on it to protect forests. Business-driven activities are admittedly the biggest violator of environmental rights and destroyer of forests today. In a time when there is a need to focus on strengthening the legal framework to ensure environmental protection, the GCP would only serve as another tool to enable the exploitation of natural resources.

The accompanying representation, puts forth in detail the problematic premise of the law and subsequent notifications before the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change and calls for immediate action by the Ministry in terms of the below demands:

  • To forthwith halt all its attempts to implement the completely unscientific and unsustainable methodology recently notified in February 2024 under the Green Credit Programme, which aims to incentivise forest diversions at the cost of ecological concerns.
  • To immediately withdraw the Green Credit Rules, 2023 and the methodology notified in February 2024 and all notifications / orders issued in pursuance of the same, and to ensure that no such programme be introduced without wider consultation with affected communities and experts.
  • To protect and restore forests, open forests and natural areas over any further warped schemes for investment in afforestation programmes at the cost of the country’s threatened natural forest cover.

Some of the 101 signatory organisations (full list in the accompanying petition) –

1. People’s Union for Civil Liberties

2. Let India Breathe

3. Fridays For Future, Karnataka

4. Centre for Financial Accountability

5. Himdhara Collective

6. Dhaatri Trust

7. Vikalp Sangam General Assembly

8. Paryavaran Suraksha Samiti

9. Living Labs Network & Forum

10. Aruvu Collaboratory and 91 others

Some of the 431 individual signatories (full list in the accompanying petition)

  • Lawyers such as Anand Grover, Henri Tiphagne, Mihir Desai, V Suresh, Lara Jesani and ors.
  • Activists such as Agnes Kharshiing, Sarang Yadwadkar, Yuvan Aves, Rohan Chakravarty, Ashish Kothari, Amrita Bhattarjee, Gabriele Dietrich, Kavita Srivastava, Teesta Setalvad, Vidya Dinkar, Madhu Bhushan, Sandhya Gokhale, Avinash Kumar, Abhishek Patil and ors.
  • Writers and journalists such as Amitav Ghosh, Arvind Narrain, Pamela Philipose, Geeta Seshu and ors.
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